For the first time in a long time, the Branford Youth Cheer D-10 Squad had the opportunity to travel to Florida for their hard-earned Nationals Championships.
The fifth-grade team placed 7th out 14, but for the team, they told Eyewitness News Sports Reporter Caroline Powers, the hardwork and accomplishment was worth every second.
"Us, along with all of the other Branford squads have worked so hard this year and I can tell it has really paid off,” said Branford cheerleader, Jessica Piazza.
From local competitions, to states, to placing at regionals in Rhode Island, the girls took their squad all the way to Nationals in Florida.
"It was just really exciting that we were going to be going to Florida because I would never had thought of it,” said Branford cheerleader, Sofia Manzo.
But, the trip to Florida for Nationals isn’t the only exciting thing this year. For the first year in 10 years, all of Branford Youth Cheer is showcasing new uniforms.
"It means so much to me to have them experience this. I am so happy to take them this far. I can't believe they've made it to nationals,” said Joanna Despotakis, Head Coach.
“I wanted to teach them everything about cheerleading. Respect or the sport, respect for themselves, respect for each other, and safety."
In the six months, Branford Youth Cheer was able to raise $20,000 to update their uniforms, but that exhausted all their funding for the season.
We are very thankful that a wonderful family in our Branford community advanced us $15,000 so that we can get our girls there,” said President of Branford Youth Cheer, Judy Barrson.
“But, it is an advancement, so we still do need to fundraise to make sure that gets back to where it belongs."
Regardless, the Branford Youth Cheer team has a lot to be proud of.
“All the stuff that we’ve been doing, all the stuff that we’ve been practicing, really pays of,” said cheerleader Chelsea Barron. “Hardwork really does pay off in the end."
To donate to the Branford Youth Cheer team, visit their GoFundMe.
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